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FredAnyman

Force vs Retaliatory Force

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andie holland,

 

From post #83, “To this end, i would say that there are, in reality two distinct forms of morality: 

* morals codified in to law that we must obey, change, or agree to suffer the consequences. In these cases, it's impossible to discuss morality as if it existed in a vacuum.

** morals that give individuals latitude of behavior, and which no legal reference is necessary”

 

So, to be clear, under one of your forms of morality, morals codified in to law that we must obey, change, or agree to suffer the consequences, if the law stated that it was legal to enslave a group of people, or exterminate a group of people, then the use of force to either enslave or exterminate is moral because it is codified into law and that which is codified into law is moral?

 

But you also wrote, “Next, we all appreciate the distinction between law and morality in so far as thinking people come to realize that certain legal statutes are unfair, therefore immoral.”

 

How can this be? If something is codified into law then it is moral, so how can “thinking people” decide that a codified law (legal statute in your quote) is immoral? The very fact that the law exists demonstrates that it is moral and cannot be immoral.

Most people do not question the law. These people, moreover, integrate legal statutes into their own moral code. The result, of course, is that (for them) morality and law become one and the same.

 

To this end, strategically speaking, the best way to change 'popular' morality is not by persuasion (as they won't listen!), but by changing the statutes. 

 

The best example of this comes from the origin of Human Rights, proudly here in Salamanca from philosophical discussion, around 1550. Subsequent laws were passed around 1610 --the Burgos Laws, after the then-capital of The Empire, that asserted the legal status as equal human beings for everyone under The Crown's domain.

 

Going forwards in time, we now consider 'human rights' to be somewhat axiomatically true, as evinced for example, in the American D of I. As another example, Locke spoke of 'natural rights' as if they somehow fell from heaven, or perhaps grasped as elementary 'moral particles'--or 'morons'!

 

But again, this was not true prior to The Salamanca School having argued that it was.

 

I suppose the converse side to all this is that those who never did accept the formula morality = law have alwatys been the outsiders. Or as Augustine wrote, The Elect. Theirs is the responsibility to speak up for change; Augustine himself insisted that the solution resided in politics.

 

Andie

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tadmjones,

 

From post #100, “May the force be with you, I think I see my exit

 

I do not understand this post. What does a pop culture reference have to do with the discussion at hand and what is your exit and why do you think you see it?

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andie holland,

 

I do not understand how anything that you wrote in post #101 is relevant to the discussion of the use of force or to the questions I asked you in post #85. If you could explain, that would be helpful.

 

But I will also ask again the question from post #85, because I am truly interested in your answer. Under one of your forms of morality, morals codified in to law that we must obey, change, or agree to suffer the consequences, if the law stated that it was legal to enslave a group of people, or exterminate a group of people, then the use of force to either enslave or exterminate is moral because it is codified into law and that which is codified into law is moral? Is this your position?

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FredAnyman, in post #102 you said "I do not understand this post."

You also added "What does a pop culture reference have to do with the discussion at hand...".

Do you understand the expression "may the force be with you"? Can you guess with some degree of probability what it would mean if the context was fuzzy and you heard someone say this to someone else? Any idea? For instance, do you, in your judgement think there is some probability that it means the person saying it wants to other person to carry a battery around at all time, so that he has some force available to him in case he ever needs it?

If you do have some clue, then why not share your understanding, and ask if your guess is right. "What do you mean?" is seldom as helpful as "Do you mean ....?" The reason is that the former calls for repetition, while the latter shares some of your own context.

Also, in post #102 you asked "what is your exit...". Once again, do you have no guess as to what this could mean?

Do you not understand that "May the force be with you..." combined with "I see my exit", unambiguously means "Good luck in your pursuit of this topic, but I am not going to engage you anymore". If you do not, then what you need is an English forum, not one about philosophy. I suggest hanging out at english.stackexchange.com
 

Then again, you could be trolling us, but I doubt anyone could get their kicks this way, and spend so much time on the endeavor.

 

And now, I anticipate you will say "softwarenerd, in post # 104 your said....". So, let's keeping going in pointless circles, shall we?

Edited by softwareNerd

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softwareNerd

 

I will not quote you if you find it troublesome. I write my posts that way because I find the quote function on the site to be clumsy and I write my posts in Word before posting them and I find it easier to retype the quotes.

 

When tadmjones wrote, "May the force be with you, I think I see my exit" and I read it, I instantly came up with an idea as to what was meant. However, this is just my interpretation and may not be what tadmjones intended to convey.

 

At this point I could respond to tadmjones with many statements, and maybe even paragraphs, about how wrong tadmjones is for making that statement, or I could imply that tadmjones must have some kind of mental disorder, or suggest that tadmjones doesn't understand English, or something like that all of which I have experienced on this thread. Or I could just ask what tadmjones meant by the statement.

 

You wonder why I don't share my understanding of the statement and then ask if this is correct. It has been my experience that when I state my understanding and ask if it is correct I receive posts that proceed to explain why the writer believes that I am wrong in my thinking, the conversation goes off on tangents, and I never do find out what was meant by the original statement. While this is not always the case, it has happened enough time for me to prefer simply asking what a statement means.

 

For example, when you made your statement about trolling, an idea about what trolling means and all of its implications came to my mind. But this is just my interpretation and may not be what you intend to convey. Now, should I spend some of these sentences with, similar to what I received in earlier posts, an "explanation" that simply states "You are not right", or should I spend some time writing about how you are not forming the concept of trolling correctly, or understanding English, or something else along those lines? Or should I just ask what you meant?

 

As I stated earlier, I am asking questions and I do not accept answers without explanation as truth. I will continue to ask questions, and question the explanations if the explanations raise more questions, until I understand. Is this so wrong and so offensive to people? If you do not want to answer or, as you say, go in pointless circles, then you are not forced to respond to my posts or even to read them. I am trying to learn and understand, so I will continue to ask questions.

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You wonder why I don't share my understanding of the statement and then ask if this is correct. It has been my experience that when I state my understanding and ask if it is correct I receive posts that proceed to explain why the writer believes that I am wrong in my thinking, the conversation goes off on tangents, and I never do find out what was meant by the original statement. While this is not always the case, it has happened enough time for me to prefer simply asking what a statement means.

Yes, it is rational to ask for clarification when there is ambiguity. 

On the other hand, sometimes there is only a tiny iota of ambiguity. In such a case, when you ask "what do you mean" without giving any hint that you and the other person are probably 99% in agreement about the meaning, then you communicate an unsaid message to the other person: that you do not understand a particular formulation that any native English speaker (in this context) would understand. If you do this multiple times, even if it is to other people in the thread, your respondents will conclude that you are unable to comprehend their explanations, and that -- therefore -- their explanations are futile.

Since you are talking to human beings, you will only get useful answers if they have some motivation. Since they are not paid in money, the motivation typically consists of the satisfaction of discussing an idea to clarify it to themselves, and the satisfaction of communicating an idea to another person. What follows is: if the other person is not understanding a poster who formulates propositions that are pretty unambiguous, then the poster is going to conclude communication is pointless, and lose motivation.

Therefore, I doubt your strategy is yielding the results you seek. I am not saying you should never ask for clarifications. However, do ask yourself why the other person would want to communicate with you if you understand nothing at all. I mean, one could get absurd and answer every post with: "what do you mean by that?" Obviously you would not do that; you obviously understand that that won't go anywhere. So, all I'm saying is this: move your goal-lines -- the line where you assume you know what the person is saying, and also the line where you are pretty sure and simply need to bounce back a reformulation, and the line where you need to ask which of two formulations is meant.

 

I'm willing to bet this communication strategy will work better than your current one. Of course, if you have found that your current approach has led other people to give you insights unlike any other approach, stick with what is working. I'm willing to bet a different approach will fulfill your goals more effectively. The possible "noise" and side-alleys you anticipate are obviously not being withheld with your current approach anyway, so why not experiment with something different?

 

I apologize for the rude tone in my post (Yes, the parody of a quoting style was uncalled for; sorry.). Put it down to my own exasperation with the conversation (its lack of communication) in this thread.

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softwareNerd

 

Your theory about people deriving satisfaction from discussing an idea to both clarify the idea to themselves and to communicate the idea to another person and then feeling unsatisfied and unmotivated when communication is thought to not be possible is very interesting and may even be correct. Perhaps asking "what do you mean" enough times does cause others to believe that communication is pointless, causes them to lose motivation, and leads to exasperation. So maybe I should change my approach.

 

But another theory, one that could be supported by an interpretation of the various statements made in the posts of this thread, is that there are people who believe, in some cases believe with a religious-like zeal, that they understand an idea but who only have a superficial understanding of the idea, and when someone challenges and questions the idea, asks for explanations of and support for the idea, and does not accept as true everything that is stated, these people become defensive and look for excuses to discredit the questioner and then ultimately ignore the questioner instead of reexamining and rethinking the idea and their understanding of it. Perhaps asking "what do you mean" enough times is revealing those with only superficial understandings and causes them to lose motivation, and become exasperated, not because communication is pointless, but because they cannot answer the questions asked and do not like having their beliefs questioned. 

 

Or maybe there is some other answer; I cannot be certain. Regardless, I have found the exchange on this thread, every post in fact, to be very enlightening.

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